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AKG P120 review: Great versatility on a budget

In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the AKG P120 large-diaphragm condenser microphone.

Despite being best known for their high-grade recording technologies and innovations, AKG has a number of budget-friendly products. The P120 may be more affordable than most other products AKG has to offer, but does its performance uphold the company’s reputation?

AKG P120 general purpose recording microphone review
Image: Higher Hz

Final verdict on the AKG P120 4.0

For the price, there really isn’t anything bad to say about the AKG P120. It’s a versatile microphone that can fit for a number of different applications and styles.

Sure, there are better microphones out there, but if you’re on a budget, this one will do just fine.

What I like

  • Warm tone.
  • Versatile.
  • Durable.

What I don’t like

  • Nothing at this price.
Buy AKG P120 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Why you should trust me

I’ve worked with a diverse spectrum of gear over my decade spent in the field of audio production and engineering, both in the studio environments and on live productions.

Brandon Schock, author and contributor at Higher Hz

Working with names such as Shure, AKG, Neumann, and Sennheiser, among many others, has lent me nuanced insights into the practical application of audio equipment, and what value it provides users ranging from novice to seasoned professionals.

Contents

Use these jump links to navigate to the desired section of the review.

Polar pattern and frequency response 4.0

The P120 has a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz. Its performance is somewhat reminiscent of the AT2020, in that it’s rather warm and ever so lightly compressed.

This microphone can suit a range of different vocal styles and types, and it can feasibly be used on a number of different instruments as well.

AKG P120 polar pattern and frequency response
Image: Higher Hz

It has a max SPL of 130 dB, with an attenuation pad that brings that up to 150 dB. The P120 also features a bass roll-off switch, cutting off everything below 300 Hz.

Vocals 4.5

This is a great choice for a number of different vocal types and styles. While the mic isn’t exactly neutral, but not so much that it becomes gimmicky. Its high SPL also lends itself rather nicely to more aggressive types of music, such as metal or scream.

AKG P120 tested with microphone stand
Image: Higher Hz

While it could feasibly work for live vocals, you’re probably better off just using a tried-and-true Shure SM58.

Acoustic guitars 3.8

The AKG P120 can be used well on acoustic guitars, although it won’t give you much sparkle if that’s what you’re going for.

Guitar amps 4.0

The AKG P120 is rather friendly towards guitar amps, although if the tone you’re trying to capture is fairly muddy, you might want a brighter microphone.

Bass amps 3.4

This can be a great option for capturing more midrange character from your bass cabinet. Best to use in conjunction with another microphone that’s more suited for capturing the lower frequencies.

Drums 4.0

You could feasibly use the AKG P120 to close mic your drums, but I think it works much better as an overhead.

Build quality 5.0

The P120 microphone is solid and chunky. It’s fairly durable as well, with an all-metal body and all-metal grille. This thing can definitely withstand a few drops to the floor.

Compared to other microphones

Let’s take a look at a few other microphones in comparison to the AKG P120.

AKG P120 vs P220

This isn’t quite a fair test, considering that the AKG P220 has a true condenser capsule, whereas the P120 has a small-diameter electret. If you can, the P220 is the superior option.

Read the full AKG P220 review

AKG P120 vs Audio-Technica AT2020

The AT2020 is a bit cleaner, while the P120 has more bottom end. They’re both inexpensive microphones, and you can’t really go wrong choosing one over the other.

Read the side-by-side comparison

AKG P120 vs MXL 990

In my opinion, the MXL 990 is far more versatile, and sounds prettier than the P120 across the board. Not much left to say otherwise.

Read the full MXL 990 review

Who is the AKG P120 best suited for?

The AKG P120 is best suited for any bedroom producers in need of a solid vocal microphone. While the microphone may come in handy for more serious recording artists, my bet is that they’ll have invested a little more into something higher end.

Buy AKG P120 at: SweetwaterAmazon
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